Digital twin is a hot topic these days due to the increased demand for technology that provides some short-term benefits during this time of unprecedented restrictions on workers and industry. As we wait to see what the new normal will be for asset-intensive industries, digital twin technology is being propelled forward to include enhanced functionality that goes beyond simply collecting and modeling information. How? By providing holistic data visualization that takes into account the bigger picture. A natural outgrowth of this trend is that industry is becoming more familiar with the digital twin concept and the tangible benefits it provides across a process facility’s lifecycle.
To enhance these benefits, Emerson, an AspenTech partner company, has added an immersive virtual reality (VR) environment to our portfolio called Mimic Field 3D. It provides a platform for training, planning and operations support well before a facility is built, allowing plants to develop outside operations without the need for actual unit operation exposure.
In the real world, operations personnel interact with field equipment, such as a manual valve, and need to locate it and take action to maintain or operate it. In Mimic Field 3D, operators see the corresponding valve and can take action, then see the impact on the process the digital twin is simulating. This is why it’s imperative that the digital twin is based on “first principles.” It should provide an accurate predictive reflection of what the physical process is doing.
Technology has evolved dramatically over recent years, so it’s easier to integrate routine operations in a VR environment to enhance the user experience and provide a complete digital twin that supports both the control room and outside operations staff.
Mimic Field 3D leverages existing industrial 3D CAD models of a facility and equipment, providing a unique ability to efficiently develop an immersive and interactive training infrastructure. Laser scans or photographic surveys of the plant can also be used as inputs in developing the application. Once we have the 3D immersive simulation developed we then create scenarios to recreate typical activities and to support development of deeper knowledge in the facility. Mimic Field 3D can be deployed on multiple devices (headset, screen or dome) to begin training operators in the field on startup, shutdown and other infrequent critical operations.
We are seeing a growing number of use cases around how this technology can be applied during this time of digital transformation. They include asset location and health tracking of a facility, operations competency support, maintenance procedure development and validation to name a few. Additional use cases include:
- Offshore oil and gas platform personnel could employ Mimic Field 3D to better understand outside operations, carry out procedures, view and work with remote processes and interact with control room personnel.
- Life science technicians, who must gear up to work in clean rooms, could carry out many formerly manual tasks with Mimic Field 3D by recreating more of those tasks in virtual formats. This could also aid material tracking and training.
- Teams could reduce risk during equipment changeouts by using Mimic Field 3D to determine if new devices, layouts and routes will fit in existing spaces. This will also reduce shutdown times and reduce costs.
To learn more about Emerson and the benefits of digital twins, register now for our upcoming webinar, Transform Operations, Manage Risks by Combining Process and 3D Immersive Digital Twins.